Of Sandals and An Offending Cat

I love my spring/summer shoes. I had even pulled a new pair of shoes out of the closet recently because warmer weather was coming and I wanted to be ready to wear these particular sandals that I’d purchased on super clearance several months ago. I was so excited to break them out finally. But…

I swear my legs aren’t this white in person (I hope not, anyway!!!).

The cat decided one morning that his litter box wasn’t clean enough so he came into my room and decided to retaliate on my floor, near my closet, and on – you guessed it – my new sandals. Oh, and a pair of Superga sneakers that I’d kicked off and hadn’t put away yet.

I caught the cat in action, so some damage was averted, but my shoes took the worst. I tried the home remedies first, but to no avail. I then went and bought Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Advanced Stain and Odor Removal (a cleaner with enzymes, absolutely essential for battling cat urine, apparently). I soaked my carpet, blotted it up, then soaked again and again until I was convinced it had penetrated every fiber. The cleaner worked wonders on the floor and my Supergas but failed to mitigate, even a teeny bit, the smell on my sandals.

I was frustrated. I had only spent $6 on the sandals and here I was spending close to $20 trying to clean them up. I almost gave up. I flirted with the idea of tossing them. But I just couldn’t. I had to try everything first.

I searched online for more advice and finally found this. 3 ingredients with convincing promises that it would work. I couldn’t lose after having tried everything else. Of course it necessitated another trip to the grocery store because of course, I didn’t have citrus Pine Sol. Of all things. I only put a small amount of all the ingredients into a spray bottle because my sandals were the only thing I was cleaning, thanks to the Nature’s Miracle doing its duty already. I mixed the ingredients and sprayed. I spritzed the sandals, wiped them, then spritzed again. I spritzed the floor with the leftovers, just in case. Then my spray bottle’s nozzle clogged (thank you, baking soda) and that was that. I couldn’t wait to check on my shoes in the morning – and guess what? IT WORKED. I happily wore my sandals that day, sans cat urine smell.

Post-disaster shoe wearing.

And I’ve even managed to forgive the offending pet. But he is no longer welcome in my room, just in case…

Until next time, my friends…

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The Gift of Life

I have a confession, friends: I love classical music. Over the years I’ve learned to listen to orchestral pieces; to lean into grand concertos and soft sonatas, losing myself in their melodic stories and letting my imagination rise and fall with the music.

Another type of classical music which I greatly enjoy are sacred choral works; the tradition and history that are communicated orally through these musical pieces are a beautiful link to the past, binding together people from long ago to us today.

It might therefore be an understatement to say that I wasn’t just thrilled, but completely enthralled to be at the premiere this past Sunday of John Rutter’s newest choral work, which was conducted by Mr. Rutter himself! It was such a moving and beautiful experience that I still have goosebumps. 

The next performances of The Gift of Life to be conducted by John Rutter will be at Carnegie Hall in May, then Oxford and Worcester Cathedral this summer. If you live in the NYC, Oxford or Worcester area, I strongly encourage you to attend – it’s probably one of the best gifts you can give yourself this year. 

“Believe in hope as a flame ever burning;

Believe in hope, like the springtime returning;

Believe in hope, lift your eyes up into the hills,

Whence comes our help from The Lord who made heaven and earth.”

-John Rutter, The Gift of Life

Have a music-filled weekend! Until next time… 

Love on A NYC Street

On the last day of a trip to New York City last year with my family, I was left alone for a few hours before I needed to head to the airport to catch a flight home. We had stayed in a private apartment near Park Lane, a truly perfect location. We literally walked out of the doors and down the street and were immediately surrounded by New York’s finest stores and restaurants. The proximity to everything great was almost mind-boggling, so for the hours I was left alone, I opted to keep it simple and started out my day at a nearby coffee shop.

I sat at a window and watched as locals walked by and marathon runners started coming in for their post-run coffee. I then went to a church service at Columbia University, which was a peaceful respite to New York’s busy streets. I still had time after the service before my afternoon flight, so I walked to the nearby Laduree for macarons. I was thrilled to be there, as visiting it in Paris had been a delight. The best was yet to come, however…

As I stood in line agonizing over the flavors and quantity I would get and wondering how I’d get them onto the plane (I had arrived in NYC with only a backpack and purse), I gradually became aware of an elderly couple who had walked in behind me. I heard them talking first. The wife was telling a Laduree server that it was their second anniversary and she was treating her husband to a macaron in celebration. I looked back and was immediately struck by the couple’s obvious delight and almost newly wed happiness emanating from their faces. They were holding hands, both dressed impeccably, standing over the macarons, trying to choose. Their very presence suddenly changed the atmosphere, and there wasn’t a face that didn’t immediately brighten over that couple and their sweet joy in each other.

After leaving the store, I somehow found myself behind the couple as I walked back to the apartment. They were strolling up the street, arm-in-arm, as clearly in love as if it was their first time. I couldn’t help myself: I whipped out my phone and took a picture (avoiding their faces, obviously). It was a picture of New York that I won’t soon forget; a glimpse into two lives that, though they’d be considered old, were really just beginning again.

It is my hope that we can all reach that age with the dignity and joy that this couple radiated. Life doesn’t have to end when youth is gone. Love isn’t obsolete after sixty (or seventy, or whatever age). Perhaps, after all the ups and downs and happy and tragic loves of one’s youth, at the end of it all is a love that is joyful, steady, peaceful, and contented. Like that couple.

Until next time… 

Oh, hi there (and thoughts on spring)

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I don’t know about you, but the last part of March was busy. Insanely busy. I’m so glad April is here and even happier that Spring is really, truly here. Texas being Texas, we didn’t cross a weather bridge into spring, we plunged right in. One day we were sliding around on ice and the next day *boom* it was spring (okay, I exaggerate. A little).

As much as I love steaming cups of cocoa and cozy sweaters and a good book by a roaring fire, this past winter zapped me. Completely. I really don’t know why, because this wasn’t the worst winter I’d ever had. But for whatever reason, it came close. And I really started longing for spring in a way I never have before. The sun and warmth and blue skies and crispy grass couldn’t arrive soon enough.

I read this recently in A Moveable Feast, and it sums up so completely how I felt from January through March:

With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason. 

In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast.

 Happy Spring, everyone! xo
Park Avenue tulips. Photo taken on a trip last year.